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Orthopedic Spine Injuries and Treatment
The Spine Specialists at Pinnacle Orthopaedics provide their patients with the best surgical and non-surgical care for disorders of the spine. All Pinnacle Spine Physicians are Fellowship Trained and work in conjunction with Physiatrists, Physical Therapists, Neurologists, Neurosurgeons, and other health care providers to optimize patient care and patient outcomes.
Anatomy of the Spine
At the back of your body is a column of small bones known collectively as the vertebrae. Stacked against each other, the vertebrae make up the spine, which is one of the most important parts of the body.
Also known as the 'vertebral column' or 'spinal column', the spine is what keeps your body upright. It gives your body the support and structure to enable bending and moving with ease and flexibility. The spine also protects the spinal cord, which is made up of nervous tissue that sends signals to your brain and the rest of your body.
It goes without saying that a healthy spine is paramount to your overall physical well-being since it's a part of the central nervous system. If the spine becomes dysfunctional, you might develop injuries, pain, and a myriad of other health issues that would warrant a visit to an orthopedic spine surgeon or a back specialist.
There are four important sections that make up the spine, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons:
Cervical vertebrae - Composed of seven vertebrae found on the neck that holds the skull in its axis and enables the head to turn and tilt.
Thoracic vertebrae - Composed of 12 vertebrae found on the upper back. The ribs are attached posteriorly to the thoracic vertebrae.
Lumbar vertebrae - Composed of five vertebrae found on the lower back. They support the weight of your upper body.
Sacral vertebrae - Composed of five vertebrae that are fused together. Also known as the sacrum, it stabilizes the pelvic area with its triangular-shaped bone connecting the hips on both sides of the body.
The coccyx is also known as the 5th section and is found between the buttocks. Also called the tailbone, this section of the spine is composed of three to five vertebrae that are fused together.
According to our orthopedic spine surgeons at Pinnacle Orthopaedics, the lumbar vertebrae are most susceptible to injuries among the four. Thus, the incidence of lower back problems is fairly common.
Common Spine Problems
Low Back Pain
Data from the World Health Organization has shown that low back pain is "the single biggest cause of years with a disability." Studies reveal that 32 percent of Americans spend their healthcare for low back pain issues while 3 to 4 percent of adults are prescribed long-term opioid medication to manage chronic low back pain.
Low back pain has many causes but the most common factors are wear and tear, poor posture, and injuries. Someone who plays sports or whose job requires repetitive exertion from the back, like lifting or twisting, are also prone to low back pain.
About 5-10% of people with low back problems eventually develop sciatica. This is a debilitating and degenerative condition that runs from the lower back to the legs, as the sciatic nerves become compressed or injured (disc herniation).
Studies also suggest that sciatica may be a genetic predisposition that can unravel in patients over 40 years old. It may also be an "occupational predisposition" among truck drivers, machine operators or workers who spend most of their day in awkward positions.
Osteoporosis is a condition that alters the density and quality of the bone structure. Literally meaning "porous bone," this condition is linked to bone loss due to aging which doesn't present symptoms early on.
Data from the International Osteoporosis Foundation has revealed that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men age 50 and above are at risk for osteoporosis. People with this condition often suffer recurrent fractures of the spine, hips, and wrists.
Our back surgeons at Pinnacle Orthopaedics warn that osteoporotic fractures of the spine have serious complications including deformity of the back, intense back pain, and decrease in height.
Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)
A report from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center has shown that between 247,000 and 358,000 people live with spinal injuries in the United States. Of these cases, 78 percent are men. Spinal injuries commonly occur at an average age of 43.
According to our spine surgeons here at Pinnacle Orthopaedics, SCI may temporarily or permanently change the function of the spinal cord, depending on the severity of the damage. Thus, patients with this condition may suffer from poor muscle control or sensation, as well as the loss of autonomic functions of their body parts.
Tips for a healthy spine
Most people don't pay attention to the health of their spine until the problem has gotten worse. But taking care of your spine is pretty straightforward. Back and spine doctors often recommend the following tips to keep your spine healthy:
If you're lifting heavy stuff, make sure that you're positioned correctly to prevent spine damage. Bend your hips and knees and keep the object close to your body. Better yet, ask for help if the load is too carry by yourself.
Give your body a chance to rest, especially after a tough physical activity. Sleep is also crucial to the recovery and healing of your spine. When you sleep, also be mindful of your position and body alignment in the bed and use supportive pillows or mattresses.
Regular exercises like stretches, aerobics, and core strengthening workouts lower your risk of experiencing common spine problems and injuries. When your body is aching from too much physical pressure, indulge in a good massage to facilitate healthy blood flow, especially in the spinal area.
Maintain a healthy weight by eating right. Excess weight can strain your spine, as well as the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the spinal area.
Incorporate a healthy dose of Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and protein-rich foods in your diet for healthy bones. This can help prevent degenerative diseases of the spine, such as osteoporosis and spinal osteoarthritis.
Pinnacle Orthopaedics strives to bring the best health services closer to those who need them. We have back specialists in Marietta, East Cobb, Hiram, Woodstock, and Canton. For more information, you can visit our clinics, request an appointment online or call us directly at 770-427-5717.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.